Beyond Medical Bills: Hidden Costs of Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries are an unfortunate reality for many employees across various industries. While the immediate medical costs of workplace injuries are often the most apparent, there are numerous hidden costs that can significantly impact both the injured employee and the employer.

This article aims to shed light on these less obvious costs, and how a Tampa workers comp lawyer can make sure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

When an employee is injured at work, they may be unable to return to their job for a significant period. This often results in lost wages. In some cases, the injury may permanently affect the employee’s ability to perform their job or any other job, leading to a loss of earning capacity.

In Florida, an award for loss of earning capacity is measured by the plaintiff’s diminished ability to earn money in the future. The jury is not concerned with actual future loss of earnings, but with the loss of the power to earn. A plaintiff must demonstrate not only reasonable certainty of injury, but must present evidence which will allow a jury to reasonably calculate lost earning capacity.

Factors Determining Loss of Earning Capacity

The factors considered in measuring the loss of wage-earning capacity include:

  • the extent of actual physical impairment
  • claimant’s age
  • inability to obtain work of a type which claimant can perform in light of his after-injury condition
  • wages actually being earned after the injury (a factor entitled to great weight)
  • claimant’s ability to compete in the open labor market the remainder of his life

Rehabilitation and Re-training Costs

Injuries may require the injured worker to undergo physical rehabilitation or vocational re-training. While workers compensation insurance in Florida covers necessary rehabilitation costs, the process can be long and challenging. Additionally, if an injury prevents an employee from returning to their previous role, they may need vocational re-training, which can be costly and time-consuming.

The cost of rehabilitation can vary significantly depending on the type of program. Inpatient rehab, which provides 24/7 care within a residential facility, typically has a higher cost range than outpatient rehab, where individuals attend treatment sessions while living at home. Specialized rehab facilities, offering higher comfort and amenities, may cost even more.

Insurance coverage for rehab varies depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy. Many insurance plans cover at least a portion of the cost of inpatient and outpatient rehab programs. Coverage for medications and therapies may be available.

some work injuries result in permanent disabilities

Additional Hidden Financial Costs of Workplace Injuries

In addition to the direct costs associated with medical treatment and rehabilitation, an injured employee may also face a variety of hidden financial costs. These costs can add up over time, creating a significant financial burden for the injured worker.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Even with workers compensation benefits, there may be out-of-pocket expenses that the injured worker is responsible for. These can include costs for prescription medications, medical equipment, transportation to and from medical appointments, and home modifications to accommodate the injury.

Increased Health Insurance Premiums

Following a workplace injury, an employee may see an increase in their health insurance premiums. Insurance companies often base their rates on an individual’s health risk, and having a workplace injury could potentially increase that risk.

Cost of Living Adjustments

If an injury results in a long-term or permanent disability, the injured worker may face increased living expenses. They may need to hire help for household chores, personal care, or childcare. They may also face increased utility bills if they are home more often.

These hidden financial costs underscore the importance of comprehensive workers compensation coverage and the need for injured workers to seek legal advice to ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to. It’s crucial for employees to understand these potential costs and for employers to take steps to prevent workplace injuries.

Legal Expenses

If there is a dispute about the workers compensation claim, the injured worker may need to hire an attorney. Legal fees can quickly add up, especially if the case goes to trial. In Florida, the law limits the amount an attorney can charge in a workers compensation case, but these costs can still be a significant burden.

At Work Injury Rights one of our core values is that we do not charge our clients any fee unless your case is successfully won.

Contact a Tampa Workers Compensation Lawyer Right Away

Workplace injuries have far-reaching implications beyond immediate medical costs. Understanding these hidden costs of workplace injuries is crucial in the context of workers compensation claims and disputes.

Consult with a legal professional at Work Injury Rights by contacting 954-324-COMP. An experienced Tampa workers comp attorney will help you navigate these complex issues effectively.